Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are accusing the Obama administration of subverting American interests by allowing a Brazilian company to drill in the Gulf of Mexico. But the Bush administration granted the initial permit, and Obama has granted deepwater drilling permits to American companies since the Gulf oil disaster.
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Beck And Limbaugh Criticize Obama For Allowing Petrobras Drilling
Beck: "American Oil Companies, Screw You. Brazil's Got It." During his radio show, Beck said:
Oh and by the way, oil prices - don't worry about that, I'm sure the Middle East is completely stable now and everything is going to be completely fine with our oil prices. And besides, the president just permitted Petrobras to do something in our Gulf that nobody's ever been allowed to do. But don't worry, it's just the oil company of Brazil. American oil companies, screw you, Brazil's got it. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 3/18/11]
Limbaugh: Petrobras Permit Proves That Obama Has A "Chip On His Shoulder About This Country." Rush Limbaugh said:
Speaking of oil and moratoriums, the U.S. Interior Department said yesterday that it has given final approval for Petrobras, the Mexican oil company to use - no, Brazil - to use the first-ever deep water floating production storage facility in the Gulf of Mexico. The facility will be used when the company begins oil and natural gas production at its Chinook/Cascade project in the near future, the department said. Petrobras based in Brazil, of course.
This is why, folks - this is why the questions are raised. Why, if he hates oil, and if it's not the energy of the future, why is he helping Brazil and other nations - Mexico and the Chi Comms - why is he helping them, lending them money and not stopping them on any environmental regulation? Why is he not stopping any of these other countries from drilling and stopping us? This question is what's leading to the answers that people come up with. And maybe got chip [sic] on his shoulder about this country. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/18/11]
Later in the show, Limbaugh added:
One of the things about Petrobras that I want to make clear ('cause it's a little bit confusing): The regime, the Obama administration has given permission to Petrobras to have a floating underwater storage facility in the Gulf of Mexico that will hold 80,000 barrels of oil and 16 million cubic feet of gas. A floating underwater storage facility. No worries about leakage. No problem. We have to shut down our Gulf drilling because of a fire on board a rig. But we okay a floating underwater storage facility.
Well, since it's a Brazilian company which has gotten heavy investments from George Soros, apparently there are no possible risks to the environment here. It just seems like all the obstacles that this administration seeks to place in people's way happen to be in the way of the United States. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/18/11]
In Fact, The Obama Administration Granted American Energy Companies The Earliest Permits To Drill In The Gulf
Chronicle: "Houston's Noble Energy Lands First Post-Ban Offshore Drilling Permit." The Houston Chronicle reported:
The federal government on Monday told Noble Energy it can resume a deep-water drilling project -- the first work of its kind approved since the Obama administration lifted a moratorium prompted by last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Until Monday, federal regulators had not allowed any offshore drilling that had been off limits under the five-month ban against some deep-water exploration, even though the ban ended in October. [Houston Chronicle, 2/28/11]
Third Company Authorized To Continue Gulf Drilling Is Also American. Bloomberg reported:
ATP Oil & Gas Corp. won a U.S. permit to drill in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the third company cleared to resume work halted last year after BP Plc (BP/)'s oil spill. The company surged in New York trading.
ATP, based in Houston, will be able to restart work on a well in 4,000 feet of water about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Venice, Louisiana, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement said today in a statement. [Bloomberg, 3/18/11]
Approval For Petrobras Drilling Operation Dates Back To Bush Administration
Petrobras Received Approval For Conceptual Plan In 2006. From a December 2006 press release from Petrobras:
(Rio de Janeiro, December 11, 2006). - PETRÓLEO BRASILEIRO S/A - PETROBRAS, [Bovespa: PETR3/PETR4, NYSE: PBR/PBRA, Latibex: XPBR/XPBRA, BCBA: APBR/APBRA], a Brazilian international energy company, announces that, its Conceptual Plan for the subsea development of Cascade and Chinook fields has received approval from the United States Minerals Management Service (MMS). It is the first approval at this level of a plan that includes the deployment of a Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility in the Gulf of Mexico. MMS is an agency of the United States Government that manages the natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the outer continental shelf (OCS). [Petrobras's Investor Relations Department, 12/11/06]
Interior Department Just Issued Final Approval To Petrobras Operation. From a March 17 press release from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement:
NEW ORLEANS - The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today provided the final approval necessary for Petrobras America, Inc. to begin oil and natural gas production at its Cascade-Chinook project using a Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) facility. This will be the first time this technology is used in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. BOEMRE approved the project's Production Safety System permit and Supplemental Deepwater Operating Plan (DWOP), to ensure that stringent safety regulations were met. The FPSO has a production capacity of 80,000 barrels of oil per day and 16 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. With the completion of this final regulatory step, production from this facility is expected to begin in the near future. [BOEMRE, 3/17/11]
Interior Department: Petrobras Was The First Company To Apply To Use New FPSO Technology In Gulf. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement noted that Petrobras was the first company to submit an application to use floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) technology:
First Application for FPSO in Gulf of Mexico
Petrobras' Cascade-Chinook Project - Walker Ridge 206 and 469
Petrobras submitted the initial DOCD on November 28, 2007. The proposed project uses an FPSO to store oil, with any natural gas processed transported to shore by pipeline. Petrobras' FPSO is equipped with a disconnectable turret so that in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, the facility can disconnect from the turret and move off location until the storm has passed.
In April of 2008, the then-MMS approved Petrobras' Development Operations Coordination Document (DOCD) for the project after a thorough environmental and technical review. The analysis of the site-specific EIS resulted in the then-MMS issuing a "Finding of No Significant Impact," allowing the project to continue the development process. (See Minerals Management Service Approves Development Plans for First Use of Floating Production Storage Offloading Facility in Gulf of Mexico )
In August of 2009, then-MMS approved Petrobras' initial Deepwater Operating Plan.
In March of 2011, BOEMRE approved the Supplemental DWOP and Production Safety System permit allowing Petrobras to begin production at Cascade-Chinook from the FPSO, B.W. Pioneer. (See Press Release) [BOEMRE, accessed 3/18/11]
Limbaugh Smear: Obama Is Fostering A "Cozy Relationship" With Petrobras To Enrich George Soros*
Limbaugh: "Petrobras Has Enjoyed A Very Cozy Relationship" With Obama "Because Soros Is A Big Investor Of Petrobras." Limbaugh said:
So a Brazilian company that is already profiting from Obama's illegal drilling moratorium - we can't drill here, but they are drilling in the Gulf, and they have found a huge deposit of oil. A Brazilian company is going to profit some more from their work in the Gulf. Petrobras has enjoyed a very cozy relationship with Obama, because Soros is a big investor of Petrobras and supporter of Obama. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/18/11]
Bloomberg: Soros' Firm "Sold All Of Its" Petrobras Stock In 2010, Totaling 14.9 Million Shares. Bloomberg reported:
Billionaire George Soros's fund management firm sold all of its Petroleo Brasileiro SA stock, dumping its biggest company holding ahead of a planned $25 billion offering by Brazil's state-controlled oil producer.
Soros Fund Management LLC, which oversees $25 billion, sold 9.1 million American depositary receipts representing Petrobras common stock and 5.88 million ADRs corresponding to preferred shares in the second quarter, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. [Bloomberg, 8/17/10]
Soros Fund Management Reported Holding Approximately 4 Million Petrobras Shares At End Of 2010. According to SEC filings, Soros Fund Management LLC held Petrobras stock as of the fourth quarter of 2010. [Securities and Exchange Commission, Form 13F for quarter ended 12/31/10]
*Updated for accuracy